Voices from Russia

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Fr Nikolai Balashov Sez Church Schism in the Ukraine would Die without Political Support



Archpriest Nikolai Balashov, the deputy head of the MP Synodal Department of External Church Relations (OVTsS), thinks that political support is the main reason that the church schism in the Ukraine exists. He said on the Orthodox radio Radonezh, “I’m convinced that if political support dried up, the schism would die in a very short time”. He also commented on the recent decision of the UOC/MP to resume dialogue with the so-called “Kiev Patriarchate”, noting that the beginning of a dialogue aimed at restoring Church unity in the Ukraine, “is very important. It’s important that this dialogue developed along the principles laid down by all the Local Orthodox Churches, namely the return to ecclesial communion of those who, unfortunately, had left it”. He also expressed the hope that the topic of schism, including those in the Ukraine, would become one of the topics discussed at the all-Orthodox Sobor, scheduled for 2016.

25 March 2014



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Thursday, 13 March 2014

V R Legoida: “It’s not Correct nor Acceptable to Call It an Ecumenical Council”

17-Alfons Maria Mucha. Mount Athos, The Holy Mountain. The Orthodox Vatican (from the Slavonic Epic, nr 17). 1926

Mount Athos, The Holy Mountain: The Orthodox Vatican (from the Slavonic Epic, nr 17)

Alfons Maria Mucha



Vladimir Legoida, head of the MP Synodal Information Department (SINFO), expanded on what came about at the meeting of the First Hierarchs and representatives of the Local Churches held last week at the HQ of the Patriarchate of Constantinople in the Phanar in Istanbul. The main purpose of the meeting was to prepare for an all-Orthodox Sobor. Legoida related that the Church reached consensus on convening a Sobor in spring 2016, saying, “The MP delegation, headed by His Holiness Patriarch Kirill Gundayev, played a crucial role in this. The meeting decided to increase preparations for holding a Sobor. This autumn, a special commission composed of one bishop and one advisor from each autocephalous Local Church will begin work. By the spring of next year, the commission will pave the way for the opening of an all-Orthodox Pre-Sobor Conference. It’ll agree upon the final issues to be addressed and be the final step towards an all-Orthodox Sobor”.

“One should note that the First Hierarchs and representatives of the Local Churches unequivocally supported the MP’s position that we should reach all decisions at any future all-Orthodox Sobor by consensus only. This means that if a decision lacks the support of even one Local Church, the Sobor won’t accept it; all decisions must have unanimity to be valid. This is according to ancient Church tradition, this characterises and distinguishes catholicity from recent parliamentary democracy, where decision-making is through the principle of majority. What’s more, this Sobor is important as a living example of how to restore inter-Orthodox communication, long complicated by various factors”. Answering a question whether the upcoming Sobor is an Ecumenical Council, Legoida explained, “Some call the upcoming Sobor a Holy and Great Council; some call it an all-Orthodox Sobor. It’s not correct nor acceptable to call it an Ecumenical Council. The last Ecumenical Council was in Nicaea in 787, and there’s been no more Ecumenical Councils since then. After the schism of 1054, the Latins continued to hold councils, which they called ‘ecumenical’. However, the Church doesn’t recognise them. We expect that the future all-Orthodox Sobor in 2016 would include the First Hierarchs and representatives of all recognised autocephalous Orthodox Local Churches“.

12 March 2014


MP official website


Editor’s Note:

I left “Sobor” in the original Russian for a reason. Firstly, all Russian Orthodox in the diaspora know what a “sobor” is… it’s a meeting held to thrash out matters of Church governance, not doctrinal issues. That’s true of this meeting, as well. There’s MUCH less to it than what EP and papist sources are trumpeting in various fora and media. GIVE HEED TO THE SECTIONS IN BOLDFACE. Read them with care… there be plenty of fresh and steaming cowpats in that there field. When one adds to that Balashov’s recent comment on the number of autocephalous Churches, one can realise that this Sobor is far from a done deal.

One last thing, Antioch and Czechia/Slovakia weren’t at the late meeting… y’know, we need CONSENSUS for ANYTHING to fly… can you catch my drift?


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Wednesday, 12 June 2013

12 June 2013. What Shall We Caption This? “The Last Days of the OCA?”

00 2013 Memorial Day Pilgrimage. St Tikhon's. S Canaan PA. 12.06


The above is a snap taken at St T‘s during the Pilgrimage. Note well that Yustinian Ovchinnikov isn’t there… neither is George Schaeffer, Jerome Shaw, or Peter Lukianov. Nathaniel Popp (and his vicar bishop) is MIA, as is Liolin and Golitzine. None of the AOCANA bishops are there. The only non-OCA bishop present is Hilarion Kapral… and that’s because he’s a “nice guy who doesn’t know how to say ‘no’” (as an exasperated ROCOR clergyman told me). I talked with several sources at the Pilgrimage, and they all told me the same thing:

Mel Pleska‘s too sick to wear the white hat. Don’t say precisely what the problem is, he doesn’t want it known publicly yet. He was out of the running, so, we chose the least-objectionable candidate.

What I can say is that the konvertsy stories about Mel being an alkie are lies. He’s not a Peterson, a Soraich, or a Brittain. Suffice it to say, Mel’s plenty sick, and the Sobor participants were put “in the know” as to the exact story, and that’s where it’s gonna be for the time being. That’s to say, Mollard was the choice of the Sobor, as he wasn’t Dahulich or Peterson, nor was he considered overly-much in Fatso’s camp.

The same situation faced the MP after the death of Aleksei Simansky. Of all the candidates for the funny white hat, Pimen Izvekov was the least-bad of those acceptable to the Party. As one bishop said at the time, “Pimen’s our choice… no, he wasn’t the best choice… but he was the best choice on hand”. Pimen managed to steer the Church in a workmanlike fashion until the election of Aleksei Ridiger (who was one of the greats, as his handling of the situation surrounding the breakup of the USSR proved). In like fashion, Anastassy Gribanovsky pushed forward Philaret Voznesensky in 1964, to avoid a succession fight between Vitaly Ustinov and John Maximovich. Philaret wasn’t the best choice… but he was the only choice available who could be seated without an acrimonious fight.

That’s the result of the Parma Sobor. They did NOT “kick the can down the road”. They had to choose SOMEONE as First Hierarch, so, they chose the least-nasty candidate. Peterson has a “past” and he’s known to be even more solicitous of the HOOMie cultists than JP was. Dahulich didn’t come up in the OCA (that is, he came up outside of the OCA/Metropolia institutional culture), and, even more serious, he carried more than a hint of being Bart‘s man (he’s also the most quasi-papist of the bishops). WHO ELSE WAS THERE? That was the point that my sources emphasised the most strongly. As one priest said, “The OCA’s going down, but it hasn’t sunk yet, so, we had to choose someone to lead it for the time being”.

Tikhon Mollard will stumble and bumble… as the job is beyond his abilities. As one of the Cabinet told me:

I don’t think that he wanted the job. He knows his limitations.

However, what’s needful at the present moment is something different. The OCA needs someone at the helm who isn’t going to go off on this-or-that idiosyncratic tangent, as Paffhausen did. There will be rough patches due to Mollard’s passivity… but there won’t be the rollicking and roiling antics of a James Paffhausen. The OCA neither needs nor wants a visionary… it wants someone who’ll leave the parishes alone to figure out their future. The OCA is a “dead man walking”… all except the konvertsy delusionaries can see that. It’s in the hands of the people, now… and they haven’t made up their minds yet. SVS… Syosset… Lyonyo… Jillions… they’re all superfluous now. The rest of us… it’s wait n’ see…


Storheim Pleads Not Guilty in Winnipeg Court

01 the judge


Let’s keep this one short n’ sweet. Click here for all the gory detail on Seraphim Storheim’s first day in court. Note well that the GOAA made a similar case go away tout suite by making the plug-ugly cop a plea. This is another sign of the malaise at the centre of the OCA… both Fathausen and Mollard couldn’t make Storheim cop in order to spare the Church a long, ugly, expensive, and unedifying spectacle. This is one case where Mollard’s passivity and timidity is going to cause grievous wounds to the OCA structure. At present, the OCA needs time to heal after shitcanning El Gordo. This will ensure that won’t happen. However, Sobor participants assure me that this is actually the least-harmful outcome. That’s something to ponder… Mollard’s no prize, but he’s no Dahulich or Peterson either… what times we live in, no?



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